Walrus advocates slam endangered species denial

Walrus advocates slam endangered species denial

The decision came after a 12-month review of the Pacific walrus status after receiving a petition as far back as 2008 for listing the Arctic marine mammal as endangered because of the loss of habitat caused by lower levels of annual sea ice.

The Pacific walrus decision drew cheers from the Alaska congressional delegation, which has expressed alarm about the impact of a federal listing on Native Alaskans.

The decision comes nearly 10 years after the service was petitioned by the Center for Biological Diversity in 2008 to list the Pacific Walrus as a threatened or endangered species.

But the agency said that while it was certain that sea ice would continue to be lost, with detrimental consequences for walruses, there was no justification to list the creatures as endangered.

The Trump administration said Wednesday the22 Pacific walrus will not be listed as a threatened species, despite environmental groups' claims the22 aquatic mammal is in danger.

The Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) said that the walruses were unlikely to be considered endangered "in the foreseeable future", defined as from now until 2060, adding: "At this time, sufficient resources remain to meet the subspecies' physical and ecological needs now and into the future". Climate change has led to the22 decline of the22 Arctic sea ice, forcing walruses to go ashore where food is more limited and predators are more likely to attack.

The Center for Biological Diversity, the group that filed the initial petition, took the Fish and Wildlife Service to court almost a decade ago.

The Center for Biological Diversity, an Arizona based-group with offices in Anchorage, called the decision "disgraceful".

"While the Pacific walrus will experience a future reduction in availability of sea ice, resulting in reduced resiliency and redundancy, we are unable to reliably predict the magnitude of the effect and the behavioral response of the Pacific walrus to this change", the agency's assessment read.

"I welcome this action by the22 USFWS, a decision that recognizes the22 health and stability of Alaska's walrus population and ignores the22 extreme political pressures often associated with new Endangered Species Act listings", Young said.

The Center for Biological Diversity says all 25 species affected by this decision are now a step closer to extinction.

The politics of the Endangered Species Act has always been at the forefront of deciding which species should be listed as "endangered".

Arctic sea ice reached its annual minimum on September 13, of 1.79 million square miles, the eighth-lowest total in the 38-year satellite record, according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center.



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